A History of Violence

2005 Crime Drama

David Cronenberg directed this screen adaptation of a graphic novel by John Wagner and Vince Locke which explores how an act of heroism unexpectedly changes a man's life. Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) lives a quiet life in a small Indiana town, running the local diner with his wife, Edie (Maria Bello), and raising their two children. But the quiet is shattered one day when a pair of criminals on the run from the police walk into his diner just before closing time. After they attack one of the customers and seem ready to kill several of the people inside, Tom jumps to the fore, grabbing a gun from one of the criminals and killing the invaders. Tom is immediately hailed as a hero by his employees and the community at large, but Tom seems less than comfortable with his new notoriety. One day, a man with severe facial scars, Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris), sits down at the counter and begins addressing Tom as Joey, and begins asking him questions about the old days in Philadelphia. While Tom seems puzzled, Carl's actions suggest that the quiet man pouring coffee at the diner may have a dark and violent past he isn't eager to share with others -- as well as some old scores that haven't been settled. more..

Director: David Cronenberg

Starring: Viggo Mortensen, Maria Bello,Ed Harris, William Hurt, Ashton Holmes


  • A masterpiece of indirection and pure visceral thrills, David Cronenberg's latest mindblower, A History of Violence, is the feel-good, feel-bad movie of the year.

    Manohla Dargis - The New York Times

    29 November 2012

  • David Cronenberg's brilliant movie -- without a doubt one of the very best of the year.

    Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly

    29 November 2012

  • Other films this year will have to sweat bullets to match the explosive power and subversive wit of David Cronenberg's A History of Violence. It slams you like a body punch and then starts messing with your head.

    Peter Travers - Rolling Stone

    29 November 2012

  • Violence is in the spirit of the hardest-hitting film noir offerings from the '50s, but far more explicit. It's also in the spirit of the Western.

    Mike Clark - USA Today

    29 November 2012

  • A ticking time bomb of a movie, a gripping, incendiary, casually subversive piece of work that marries pulp watchability with larger concerns without skipping a beat.

    Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times

    29 November 2012


  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

    Academy Awards (2006)

  • Best Action/Adventure/Thriller Film

    Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films (2006)

  • Best Supporting Actor

    Austin Film Critics Association (2006)

  • Best Screenplay - Adapted

    BAFTA Awards (2006)

  • Best American Film (Bedste amerikanske film)

    Bodil Awards (2006)